South-South Coop to benefit all poor countries: UNIDO
New Delhi, Feb 18: South-South Cooperation is an idea whose timehas come, feels the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation(UNIDO) Director General Kandeh Yumkella, who recently launched thefirst UNIDO Centre for South-South Industrial Cooperation (UCSSIC) here.
Sharing his perspective on the importance of the Centre, DrYumkella says the Centre would replicate the best practices from India,China, Malaysia and Indonesia which have taken more people out ofpoverty through private sector-driven enterprise in partnership withthe Government.
On the choice of India for the launch of his brainchild, the UCSSIC, his answer is simple: India innovates.
"India is building new institutions and is looking at newtechnology," he says, citing interest in bio-fuels such as jatrophawhich have been dubbed as "clean fuel", the country's successful microfinance experiment or the use of neem products.
These are innovative, challenging times and there are no simple,orthodox solutions to eradicate poverty in Asia and Africa, he says.
In fact, India and China's growth has helped African consumers whohave benefitted from goods cheaply produced in these two countries.
"Industrialisation is needed for growth," he adds.
South-South cooperation aims not only at Africa's development butalso seeks to help India and China in building a market for theirproducts.
Outlining the need for cooperation between the South countries inthe face of increasing globalisation, he says most of the LessDeveloped Countries want to scale their economies through valueaddition of their products which would mean growth and jobs for theirpeople.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath sees the mutual benefit for all South countries through the UNIDO initiative.
''India has as much to learn as to teach, as much to receive as togive. We view the South-South centre as a project which is global inits reach and scope.'' He was speaking at the official launch of theCentre here on February 15.
UNIDO proposes to launch similar centres countries in the more advanceddeveloping countries such as China, South Africa, Egypt and Brazil. Sixkey areas of rural and urban-oriented industries have been identifiedas: renewable energy, particularly wind energy and biomass energy, lowcost housing and building materials, food processing andagro-industries, pharmaceuticals, aromatics and traditional remedies,biotechnology, technical training and skill enhancement in automobilecomponets, foundries, machine tools and Business Management, andInformation Technology applications in industry.
Dr Yumkella, who believs in job-driven growth to reduce povertyand fratricidal wars in many countries of the African region, viewsjobs as the solution to prevent the youth from picking up weapons.
On the inter-dependence of countries, he is of the view that Indiaonce learnt from Africa, and now Africa can learn from India'sexperience.
The UNIDO chief emphasised the need to ensure that benefits ofindustrial growth are more evenly spread. The underlying theme of theSouth-South cooperation is his response to the challenges ofglobalisation.
Not just India, but the success stories of Japan, China, India,Malaysia and Indonesia have left him convinced that he should 'LookEast', he says.
''It is my genuine belief that if we sincerely want to eradicate -- and not manage -- poverty, we have to look East.
Today, we want to create partnerships and we need to engage for global partnerships.
''Is it not possible that cocoa from Cote' D Ivoire can be sourcedinto India instead of the finished chocolate? Or that India can shareits neem based technology with Africa where these trees grow wild.'' headds.
The centre, which has identified the six areas where technologyand expertise could be shared, will exchange expertise and experience,help institutions and enterprises network, replicate best practices toreduce poverty and strengthen national and local innovation systems.
The recent initiatives herald a "new UNIDO", with focus onlinkages between industrial development and trade especially throughvalue-addition and on innovations in technology which would help togenerate more jobs and eradicate poverty in the developing countries ofAsia and Africa.
''Our aim is to create jobs in the poorer countries throughvalue-addition with private partnership. We are looking at sustainabledevelopment...where democracies are not stable, people need jobs.Africa does not want to be a continent of basket weavers but ofcreators of value-added products.'' he adds.